The Closer: Game of the Year Edition OUT NOW and FREE

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Here it is, folks: the best game featuring Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek you’ll play in Q3 of this year.

RPGMaker Installers are .exe files so I apologize if your anti-virus raises an eyebrow at the download. I promise that the code is only malicious if you really dislike baseball puns.

So, what is The Closer: Game of the Year Edition? It would be easier to play it than to explain it to you, but if you’re down here in the text rather than up there clicking on a link, I should probably give it a shot. The Closer is an adventure game that takes place between the sixth and seventh game of the World Series. The closing pitcher for New York (you) gave up a massive home run to lose game six and must go on an epic quest to remake himself as a pitcher before he has to pitch again.

Accompanied by your faithful pitching coach, Moose, you will participate in the worst trivia night ever, play an uncomfortable Japanese visual novel, explore an abandoned candy factory, AND MORE.

The Closer: Game of the Year Edition is free to download and always will be free to download, because I’m not enough of a madman to use the likeness of real people and try to make money off of it. The Closer is parody and not intended to be an accurate representation of anything it portrays.

You can download The Closer. Hell, you can distribute it elsewhere if you want, as long as you’re not charging folks for it. Put it on Pirate Bay, for example. Once something is there it can never be destroyed. Just make sure to credit me!

Now that The Closer is released, I am moving on to more polished and commercially viable products. I see The Closer as something of a jumping off point for me. I accidentally ended up learning a lot while making this silly game, and now I’m hoping to make more. To do that, I’ve teamed up with Jenny Gibbons of Woodsy Studio (and the composer of all the awesome music in The Closer) to form Thesis Games, which we will both use to release all of our future projects.

And if you like The Closer enough to want to support my work, check out Woodsy Studio’s previous visual novel Serafina’s Crown. In exchange for the music of The Closer, I did a fair amount of the dialog writing in Serafina’s Crown. If it doesn’t look like your sort of thing, at least give it a vote on Steam Greenlight.

Thanks and enjoy The Closer!

Announcing The Closer: Game of the Year Edition

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If you’ve been following my World War K series, I should probably start with an apology. Ever since the Kansas City Royals made it to the World Series, it’s been hard to stay motivated. But that’s not the only reason I haven’t made a post every week, or why the posts have been shorter.  The truth is, I’ve been working on something else.

That something else is The Closer: Game of the Year Edition

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What The Fuck Is This?

The Closer: Game of the Year Edition is a computer game, made (almost) exclusively by me. Because I like to do dumb things with my free time. Because I spend most of my not-free time doing boring, not-dumb things like being a lawyer.

This Looks Like It Is Made In RPG Maker!

That is because it is.

But RPG Maker Games Are Terrible!

To The Moon is pretty great, right?  Well, this isn’t To The Moon. To The Moon is touching story about death and regret. This is the tale of a young relief pitcher who gives up the winning run in game 6 of the World Series and goes on an epic quest to regain his confidence before a decisive game 7.  Along the way, he encounters bar trivia contests, Japanese PC games, pop-Marxist philosophy, and existential terror. In no particular order.

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Is This A Joke?

No, this is not a joke. Well, yes, it is a joke. But I am making this game. So it’s not a joke.

Seriously?

Listen, I know that Barkley: Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden worked through a lot of the same ground I’m traversing here.  Barkley is fantastic and I won’t pretend I wasn’t inspired by it. But I’m a baseball fan, and I wanted to make a game about baseball. And when it’s done I will be giving this away for free, so stop complaining.

This Will Be Free?

There are a good number of likenesses and trademarks and art assets from MLB used in this game that, heh, I haven’t exactly negotiated.  While I am fairly comfortable in asserting that this is all parody, within the fair use exemptions that can go along with that, I’m not dumb enough to try and profit off of this. When this is done, it will be released for free with permission to upload it or whatever else you might want to do with it elsewhere.

How Can I Play It?

Unfortunately, as of now, the most updated version of RPG Maker only lets you play games on Windows PCs.  Supposedly Android middleware is coming, but I will believe it (and do a port) when I see it.

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So What Kind Of Game Is This?

While I’m using RPG Maker–mostly because I’m far more interested in writing than programming–The Closer: Game of the Year Edition is more of an adventure game. Or maybe you’d call it a visual novel.  There are battles, there are Game Overs, but for the most part it’s not about those things. It’s about the story. And the choices you make. And jokes.  Featuring:

  • Multiple party members, almost all of which have their own unique “fighting” style, including pitching, debate, and Sabermagics
  • Something resembling branching story lines
  • Music by Jenny Gibbons (Check out The Closer’s Entrance – as well as her other work – on Bandcamp)
  • Lots and lots of words, so if you’ve enjoyed World War K or any of my other writing, you should check this out.

But It’s Hard To Make A Funny Video Game!

Oh god, I know. It’s almost impossible to control precise timing in video games, which strips out a ton of the nuance in comedy.  Truly funny video games are few and far between, but that’s not going to stop me from trying because this is more for my own amusement than anything else.

These Screenshots Look Rough!

Yeah, a good amount of the pixel art is stuff is modified from the RPG Maker package or hastily made myself.  The battle screens are pasted together by, again, me.  The maps could clearly I am not particularly skilled at art. It could get better before release.  Honestly, it might not get better before release.  I am aware that I am not the best artist.

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So What Is The Story?

Game Six of the World Series.  Ninth inning.  St. Louis at New York, with New York up 3-2. One strike away from winning the World Series, the closer for New York gives up a monstrous home run (and the lead) to reigning NL MVP Carlos Rodriguez.  After the game, he realizes that his dominating slider has turned into an easily-hittable meatball.  With less than 24 hours until Game 7, he needs to learn a new pitch before the next inevitable Game 7 showdown against Rodriguez.

But How Does He Know He Will Have To Face Rodriguez In Game 7?

Buddy, it’s call dramatic license.

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So, When Is This Releasing?

I’m glad you’re asking this question because it means that you’re interested. The Closer: Game of the Year Edition will be released in 2015. Yeah, that’s not a well-defined time. That’s because I don’t know how long this is going to take.  A good portion of it is already done, and (mostly) bug-free.  Halfway?  Probably a bit more than that. Depends on how deep this rabbit hole is going to go.

You Don’t Know When It Will Be Done? Why Are You Announcing This?

Hey, watch it with the hostility.

Basically, I want to talk about this game. I want another thing to post about, and a reason to post more about video games in general. The Closer isn’t a very traditional video game, unless you consider  jokes-instead-of-gore Corpse Party a traditional video game. Developing something myself, as unconventional as it might be, gives me an excuse to make posts about video games.

You’re Not Doing A Very Good Job Of Selling This Game.

Oh, I know.  This is an RPG Maker game made by someone who is a writer, not a game designer or an artist. I’m well aware of all the caveats that have to go with a project like this.

But this is a game where Slovenian philosopher Slajov Zizek can get into a debate about feminism with an elevator operator to infiltrate Twitter headquarters.

So, c’mon, you’re curious.